Yes, your own desire to kick back may be part of the motivation for letting up on some of the house rules during the summer, but here's another: doing things a little differently is a way of making sure you don't let the specialness of the season pass you by. Days are longer. Yummy things are in season. There's no schoolwork to get done. And it will be gone before you know it. So, here are a few rules to break that will make your kids think you're the coolest mom ever.
1. Ice Cream only after you've eaten your vegetables. What says summer more than a melting ice cream cone in the middle of the afternoon! If your kids eat healthy meals most of the time there's no harm in letting them savor one of the simplest of summer pleasures. If you're concerned about their diet, remember it can be one scoop not the triple-decker portions many ice cream parlors automatically serve. And don't forget to get one for yourself.
2. Lights out at a reasonable hour. Even letting your kids stay up -- or stay outside-- and play a half hour longer than usual will feel like a thrill for them. It also allows you to savor that gorgeous early evening time without rushing to the finish line.
3. No shirt, no shoes, no service. Most of the time we find ourselves enforcing respectable weather-appropriate attire -- pants when it's cold, nicer shoes for an occasion. But in the summer, even a bathing suit accessorized with goggles can be a perfectly fine outfit for the day. Let the kids wear their PJs to go out to dinner or to get an ice cream treat. (See #1 above.)
4. Sleep in your own bed. This is something I'm constantly struggling with in my house. It always seems like more fun to sleep somewhere else to my kids! How about embracing that notion in the summer and letting them pitch a tent outside or take their sleeping bags into the living room for a "camp out."
5. Stick to the schedule. During the school year, kids are just as busy and over-scheduled as parents. It feels like we're always rushing to get to the next place/class/game/appointment. If you space out activities in the off season, have dinner when everyone feels like eating, not at the predetermined hour, and do away with the hurry-up-we-have-to-leave-now! agita, it will give everyone time and space to re-charge.
What rules do you let your kids break in the summer?
Image via Stev.ie/Flickr